Interest Increases in Oil & Gas International Exploration Licence Rounds

Over recent years and during lower oil prices, the success and take up of many international Oil & Gas exploration licence rounds has suffered in response to the economic climate. This added to the technical and commercial risks, particularly away from the safer basins of places such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, has led to the uptake to suffered even further.

Fortunately, as the oil price has started to recover, and the industry has emerged more cost efficient, the demand for new acreage to fuel organic exploration growth has once again been on the increase. It is timely that a number of countries have exploration licence rounds planned for 2019-20 or are offering an ‘open door’ policy to new applications. This renewed interest has also been fuelled by a number of significant exploration successes such as - Eni’s Nour gas discovery, offshore Egypt; ExxonMobil’s Glaucus-1 gas discovery, offshore Cyprus; and the 13th consecutive discovery by ExxonMobil/Hess in Guyana.

In line with this renewed interested, key expected licence round opportunities include:

  • West Africa: Gabon, Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, Somalia
  • North Africa and Eastern Med: Egypt, Red Sea and Lebanon
  • South America: Uruguay, Brazil and Suriname
  • Asia/Pacific: Australia and The Philippines

While there are significant opportunities available, doing the homework and getting it right has never been more important. Understanding the fiscal terms and options for gas commercialisation is as important as it’s ever been and ensuring access to the available technical data and the careful evaluation of the petroleum systems is crucial.

Earning the ‘social licence to operate’ is also key, particularly in developing countries. So ensuring environmental protection, together with working in partnership with the communities and national stakeholders, is crucial for developing sound and sustainable corporate responsibility positions for exploring companies.

If you’re looking into your license round options and require assistance, SLR is experienced across all aspects of the exploration license round process and can help you achieve your objectives in the following ways:

  • Technical data collation.
  • Prospect generation and risk review.
  • Economic modelling including outline development/drilling costs.
  • New country entry decision board papers.
  • Environmental legislation reviews and EIAs.
  • Application document preparation.
  • Bid compliance advice.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about support with your license application, please contact David Lawton (Chief Geoscientist - Oil & Gas Advisory at SLR) at

Key Contacts:

David Lawton